Shawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD
Organize Your Recipes (As-Is)
Instead of waiting for 'someday' to organize your recipes perfectly, organize them as-is and use them today.
Build a recipe notebook or use an expanding file folder. All suggested materials are available at Amazon.com (click on each photo to check it out on Amazon).
Buy a notebook that is intended to be used with sheet protectors and dividers. It's extra wide.
Use sheet protectors for recipes as-is.
I suggest Snap-In protectors so that you don't have to open the rings to move the recipes but any sheet protector will do.
Top-loading is best. Just drop your recipe in, whether it's cut from a magazine, printed from the web or written on a recipe card.
Use tabbed dividers that are made to be used with sheet protectors. Otherwise the tabs will disappear.
Use an expanding file folder to sort your recipes into categories. No additional preparation needed. Choose an expanding file folder that makes you smile every time you use it.
The one main drawback to using a file folder is that you may have to pull all the recipes out of a section to find the one you want, but it certainly would be less time than going through a stack of unsorted recipes.
You can even create a category TO TRY. Grab one once a week or once a month. Then drop it in the appropriate category or toss it when you're done.
Another idea I love. This book-like expanding folder. Unfortunately it's not currently available and I don't know if Meadowsweet Kitchen will bring it back. I haven't tried it and I wish it came in prettier colors. I liked the fact that you can lay it down and look through all the recipes in a section. There is the concern that over time things might slip out the sides. But it's an idea to start with. I'll be keeping an eye out for similar options.
Consider categorizing by time or appliance. Instead of sorting by ingredient (chicken, beef, vegetarian, etc.) or by type (entree, appetizer, soup, etc) organize by appliances, time, or ease.
Ultimately, you want to be able to grab a recipe for meal planning that fits your needs. If you decide you want to have a slow cooker meal, it would be easier if you could just flip through that section. Or if one night you know you'll be tired and you just need to have a meal that takes little or no effort to prep and is quick, grab one from the QUICK & EASY section.
Create the categories to support your choices today.
If you want to go paperless, I'd recommend using Evernote or OneNote. Evernote also has an app focused on food, recipes, and restaurants - Evernote Food. I haven't tried it yet so I'm not sure if it's worth the effort of a second app if you're already using Evernote.
If you've been meaning to get around to organizing your recipes for months (or years), consider joining a Paperwork Party™. We will be meeting online (virtually) and together we can each get our paperwork done in a fun, social atmosphere. You're not alone so come join the Paperwork Party™!